In-Depth Speculation on How Disney World Gondola Project Will Take Shape

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Over the past few days, I’ve done quite a bit of research on modern-day gondola projects to get an idea for what the Disney system is going to look like, and how it’s going to operate. This article is pure speculation on my part, but I’ve linked to much of the information so you can evaluate it for yourself. As I’m a techie person, there is a lot of technical information in this article.

As you might imagine, there are only a few companies in the world that are specialized in building these cable-propelled transit systems. Doppelmayr/Graventa is probably the most prominent maker, and several of their systems are shown below. Another company active in this area is Leitner-Poma, which is the organization behind the 2010 renovation of the Roosevelt Island Tramway in New York City.

This photo is a gondola from a Doppelmayr system installed in Ischgl, Austria. Another system, pictured below, was installed in Whistler, BC, Canada. Called Peak2Peak, it connects the tops of the two mountains of the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort. The Peak2Peak opened in 2009. These systems are both Doppelmayr’s 3S model, otherwise known as a TGD system, which stands for “tricable gondola detachable.” I’ll explain more about what this means later in the article.

These gondola systems are state-of-the-art transportation systems – nothing like the old Skyway at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Where the Skyway would hold 4 riders in each open-air ride vehicle, the Doppelmayr systems can carry up to 35 passengers in enclosed, climate-controlled comfort. These gondolas are fully wheelchair-accessible without the need for any sort of ramp like those required for the monorail.

How will the gondolas be an improvement upon busses? Well, how could you get any less magical than a bus?  Even parking lot trams are more fun. So gondolas have the wow factor that will make guests want to stay at the Caribbean Beach Resort or the Art of Animation, and will make DVC members want to buy at the upcoming Caribbean Beach DVC addition.

But beyond the wow, there are a number of practical advantages. A standard transit bus holds around 55 people.  Because of how long it takes to load 55 people onto a bus, make sure they are seated, make sure the strollers are folded, it’s not really possible to dispatch a bus more often than about every 90 seconds, in the most optimal situations.  Using these figures, we can calculate the hourly capacity of a bus line at 2200 passengers per hour, using 40 bus trips per hour, in a given direction. It is possible to increase this capacity by several means, including articulated busses, which have a rider capacity of 50%-100% more than standard busses, but the load time is also correspondingly longer, mitigating the capacity increase.  Articulated busses would also require reconfiguration of the bus stops at most resorts and possibly even at the parks, which is an additional infrastructure cost.

The capacity of the Whistler Blackcomb Peak2Peak gondola is 2500 people per hour using a 28-person vehicle and a dispatch interval of 49 seconds.  And this is at a ski resort, where riders will be carrying ski equipment with them. The BUGA system in Koblenz, Germany uses eighteen 35-passenger vehicles and has a capacity of 3800 passengers per hour per direction.

So we’ve got a more magical transportation system that is also more efficient at moving guests. Additionally, the gondola system will require fewer cast members to operate.  A bus system connecting Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and three hotels, is basically 5 routes. Moving 2200 people per hour across 5 routes is roughly 10,000 people per hour, which would require 100 busses according to Doppelmayr. At one driver per bus plus support personnel, that’s around 120 cast members. A gondola system can be safely operated with an order of magnitude fewer cast members. Four stations, staffed with 3-6 cast members each, is a huge improvement in labor costs.

The outlook for energy consumption is similarly amazing.  I won’t go into the details here, but the energy requirement for the motors the cable of the Whistler system is less than 3000 kWh per day.  At a cost of 12c per kWh, that’s $360 per day to operate the gondola. At today’s rates, that buys you around 150 gallons of diesel. Can you operate 100 busses on 150 gallons of fuel per day? Even if you take into account all the efficiencies Disney likely squeezes out of their bus operation, it’s still way cheaper to operate a gondola, not to mention the environmental benefits.

The entire length of the gondola system will be under 3 miles (4.8 km). For comparison, the Peak2Peak system is 4.4 km and was built for $57 million in 2009. The current Gillig busses used by Disney cost between $500,000-$700,000 each, and have a lifespan of around 12 years. The entire gondola system would cost less than the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which reportedly cost around $100 million. It’s pretty clear that cost will not be an obstacle to this project.

The safety and comfort level of the system itself will also be a far cry from the Skyway of old. In addition to having climate-controlled vehicles that are fully wheelchair-accessible, the cabins can also be outfitted with infotainment systems and Wi-Fi. As many of these systems are installed at ski resorts, guests carrying bulky ski gear are not a problem.  Likewise, guests carrying luggage and strollers aboard will also be easy. And imagine not having to wait for a bus! You’ll be able to see your ride coming down the rope to the station, and never have to wonder if you just missed the last bus!

This picture of a Doppelmayr installation in Sochi, Russia, shows a view of the eight wheels on the carriage that support the gondola.  These systems utilize three cables (thus the “tricable” part of the TGD moniker). Two cables are fixed and provide the support to the gondola vehicle. The third cable moves and provides the propulsion. This gives the system maximum stability even in windy conditions. The eight wheels ride on the two fixed cables (called “ropes” in the industry) and thus give a very smooth ride.  You might remember the old Skyway jostling when going over support poles. This was because there was a single cable providing both support and propulsion, so the vehicle’s connection to the rope went right over those bumpy pulleys. In the TGD case, the fixed support cables go over the pulleys (or rather, the functional equivalent of pulleys in this system), and the gondola rides on top of the fixed support cables, thus ensuring a smooth journey.

And lastly, one similarity to the Skyway system is that these gondolas are “detachable” (the D in the TGD acronym). This means that the vehicles detach from the propulsion cable in the station, so that the vehicle can slow or stop to load and unload while the rest of the vehicles in motion are traveling at a higher speed. The videos below show this in detail. The WDW Skyway system also did this, but many other ski-lift-type systems do not, so you have to position yourself in front of the moving seat, sit, and pull down the lap bar, all while the system is moving at its full speed. This detachability also allows for the vehicles to be moved off the system for storage or maintenance (see the Penkenbahn video around the 2:05 mark). This is also how the system can make 90 degree turns: the vehicles can actually be detached from one ropeway and moved onto another ropeway that is situated perpendicular to the first.

Doppelmayr has also designed these TGD systems with safety in mind.  According to the product description:

To enable all passengers to be safely returned to solid ground in an emergency scenario, an innovative recovery concept was developed for 3S lifts. All functionally relevant parts and equipment are duplicated and independent of one another. The aim of this novel development was to provide the technical and organizational means to ensure that all cabins can always be safely returned to the nearest station.

This is actually a step up from safety in the monorail system, in which a disabled train must be towed to a station by a work tractor. The duplicate backup equipment can actually run the entire gondola system on its own, returning guests to the nearest station.

Below are some videos of various Doppelmayr TGD gondola systems for your enjoyment. Doppelmayr has also produced a 20-page brochure highlighting the advantages of its ropeways called “Ropeways in the Urban Environment” that is a free download. Additionally, the company’s 2016 Annual Report has details about the 103 ropeway installations the company performed in 2015.

I’ll be happy to try and answer questions in the comments section. Please note the Merriam Webster dictionary lists busses as a perfectly acceptable plural form of the word bus, so yes, this post was spell-checked and passed with flying colors.

UPDATE: WFTV contacted me for comments on the gondola system. The video of the news clip is embedded below.

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Jason Diffendal

Jason has been a lifelong fan of the Disney parks since his first visit at age 2. His biennial pilgrimages during his childhood accelerated into semi-annual visits by the year 2000, when he also Joined the Disney Vacation Club. Luckily, Jason’s bride-to-be was also a Disney fan, which allowed his infatuation with the Disney parks to continue, and ultimately culminated in their wedding at Disney's Wedding Pavilion in September 2003. Early in 2007, Jason began his involvement with the planning for what became Celebration 25, the unofficial fan gathering to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Epcot®. Soon thereafter, Jason met Tom Corless at a pin trading meet in New Jersey, and became part of the WDW News Today podcast starting with Episode 17. Jason has been involved with the WDWNT Network ever since, and can't seem to escape no matter how hard he tries.
Contact Jason at [email protected]

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    • These systems really don’t take that long to build. I would bet money that it will be open by the time Star Wars land opens in 2019.

      • I definitely agree that 2019 would be doable and they clearly would want to have this up and running before Star Wars Land opens. The timing of the construction should be interesting. The gondola manufacturers do a lot of work at ski resorts so their busy time is during the summer. They will probably want to do the lift system installation in the winter. It’s possible they could have the stations ready for hardware installation by winter 2017-2018, but I think it’s going to be more likely in winter 2018-2019 which would give them time to get the system installed and tested since SWL will probably not open until mid to late 2019.

  • Do you think this will change the per night rack rate for Pop Century? Wouldn’t it be hard to justify a similar rate for All-Star Resorts with Pop having this premium amenity?

    • Absolutely! We’re going to see new pricing levels at these resorts. All-Stars will be the lowest. Pop will be higher. Art of Animation will be a bit higher than Pop, simply due to demand. And Caribbean Beach will charge a premium over Port Orleans. We’re already seeing that Coronado Springs is going to be in its own class of business resorts. I think the whole Value/Moderate/Deluxe tiering will go away. You’ll have each resort priced based on demand and amenities.

      • So you mean the exact same pricing structure as it stands now. All stars are already the lowest, Pop a bit more, and AoA a bit more than that. Nice deduction, Sherlock.

      • CBR will have do more than add a glorified sky bucket for me to stay there over POR. I get that it’s going DVC, but meh. POR has so much more going for it overall. But this whole gondola thing sounds really cool, especially with the numbers broken out compared to the current torturous bus system. You did your homework!

        And I get the sense “Watson” is the same fun person that likes to run over people’s feet with a double stroller in Fantasyland.

    • The 3S system is designed to operate in 100km/h (62 mph) winds. Lightning shouldn’t be a big issue as the whole system is one big conductor wire which will be grounded at multiple locations. That being said, I still think they will shut down the system when there’s lightning in the area. It would probably be pretty unnerving to guests to be up in a gondola in a lightning storm.

  • Will there ever be open windows? Or is there a fear that stupid people might throw stuff out? Or “accidentally” fall out? A hermetically sealed container just doesn’t sound that fun to me.

    • I’ve thought about this quite a bit. On the one hand, they could have open gondolas with mesh like they use at Mickey’s Fun Wheel. However, Florida gets a lot more rain than SoCal, so I’m thinking the vehicles would likely be glass windows with air conditioning. I’ve been on one of the small transportation boats from the MK to the Polynesian in a thunderstorm, and we got drenched. So they definitely need protection from rain. So my guess is hermetically sealed. Stupid people would definitely throw stuff out, even if the windows were tiny.

      • Yeah, basically a monorail car then. I rode the Roosevelt Island gondola and the a/c was great on a hot day.

    • The Mark VI Monorails at WDW have a capacity of 360 people maximum, but in typical operation (strollers, etc) it’s more like 244. On the MK Express loop at park closing, they can run 4 trains, with a dwell time of 60-90 seconds and a spacing of 60-90 seconds. That’s a dispatch interval of 2-3 minutes. So, say 300 people every 2-3 minutes, that comes out to 6000-9000 people per hour. But keep in mind, the monorails only need that sort of capacity at MK closing, and only for an hour or two. Epcot doesn’t need that kind of monorail capacity because you can walk to your car.

  • Just curious why they are not running a line to Disney Springs and some of the other resort hotels on the EPCOT side of the property.

    • I would bet that if this first installation works out well, saves money on bus operations, alleviates traffic, and makes guests happy, then you’ll see more in the future. Certainly a setup from Saratoga Springs to Old Key West to Port Orleans to Epcot would make a lot of sense. I’m not sure about Disney Springs – that’s always been an issue with transportation due to people parking there to avoid paying to park at the theme parks. If the gondola can be restricted to resort guests only (via MagicBand readers) then Disney Springs could work as well.

      I also think there are a few other point-to-point setups that would be ideal for gondolas. Specifically, Animal Kingdom Lodge to Animal Kingdom would make a lot of sense. People have always said that resort deserves it’s own specific mode of transportation to the park (like the MK resorts have the monorail to the MK). I could also see a system from the Wilderness Lodge to the TTC. That would allow those guests to go to both the MK and Epcot without a bus. Sure, you’d have to transfer to a monorail, but resort monorail guests already have to transfer monorails to get to Epcot, and have since 1982, and there is little complaint because the monorail is so much better than a bus!

  • I wouldn’t put much stock into Webster’s dictionary…they often adopt new words, definitions, and spellings simply based on a preponderance of incorrect usage. If enough people use a word incorrectly, Webster’s will reward the laziness and/or ignorance…counter-intuitively contributing to the devolution of the convention for which they are a presumed resource.

  • Your article and everything this site presents on this subject are pure conjecture and not real news. YOu are not reporting on an actual event or even have facts to support it. All you know is that some concrete and utility boxes are being installed around the property. If you have sources to back your info, then at least say so. Otherwise this is again FAKE NEWS.

  • Some other insiders on some other site are saying that the system will be closer to a 10-person gondola rather than a 30-person one.

    They also say the gondolas will not have A/C or heating. There will instead be vents below and above for circulation of air. The gondolas will have shielding to block direct heating from the sun.

    And they say it’s definitely Doppelmayr.

    Now, any ‘insider’ can have wrong info, or info that gets changed. But does this site have an insider saying it’s definitely a 30-person A/C gondola, or is that just speculation?

    • I have no insider information saying it’s a 30-person air-conditioned gondola. This is just in-depth speculation. Doppelmayr has been building 28-35 person gondolas recently. Based on my calculations, a 10-person gondola will not be big enough to handle the crowds to replace the busses. If they don’t plan to completely replace the busses, then a 10-person gondola in conjunction with some busses would probably work.

      I really don’t see why the gondolas *wouldn’t* be air-conditioned. Doppelmayr can do it, and you’re in central Florida. Anyone who has been on Disneyland’s non-air-conditioned monorails in the summer knows how uncomfortable they are, even with vents and tinted windows to block the sun.

  • The gondola system has no direct ride between parks. Makes park hopping more complicated by increasing the ride. The natural extension is to Animal Kingdom and the various resorts surrounding it including the Value resorts. On the east side of Epcot sits many other moderate resorts that can do without the bus rides. Disney has to design their resorts with transportation in mind. Seem logical, but it isn’t always so. Example, why no direct tram ride between Epcot and DHS? Also, Disney doesn’t design their resorts with pedestrians in mind. You can’t just walk to the parks. There are too many barriers and the distance make such considerations impossible.

    • The boats are a terribly inefficient mode of transportation but I think they will likely remain. They stop at the Swan & Dolphin dock which is a lot more convenient for those guests than walking to International Gateway to board a gondola. Although if the gondolas become popular, I wouldn’t be surprised if the boats fall victim to cost-cutting in the future.

      The FriendShip Boats that cruise World Showcase Lagoon won’t be affected by the gondola, but those are somewhat pointless also in my opinion, and a new nighttime show may require their removal.

  • As an avid skier I love this idea. Gondolas are always magical no matter how many times you ride in them. Most ski areas have 4 to 6 person gondolas so something dramatically bigger will be really interesting. No question: when a ski area wants to increase capacity dramatically – they add a gondola.

    One thing that I love about gondolas is how they travel high above the surrounding landscape to give a great view of the work below. I am somewhat worried that with the flat Florida landscape and the need to avoid any visual impact to the surrounding landscape that the system will not rise very far above the surroundings. I hope I’m wrong about this.

    • The gondolas in this case won’t need to be very high. If you look at the map of what they will be crossing, it’s not much more than trees and roadways – nothing incredibly high. Personally I don’t think they will be any more of a visual incursion than the Swan & Dolphin resorts which can be seen from inside Epcot.

  • Isn’t Orlando the lightning capitol of the world? Would they have to shut down during the frequent summer storms?

  • In the speculative maps that I’ve seen posted (such as the one at the top of the April 2nd post here
    http://wdwnt.com/blog/2017/04/walt-disney-world-gondola-system-foundation-construction-begin/ ), I can’t figure out why there is this assumption that there will not be a connection directly between Epcot and DHS. Are these gondolas that you researched not able to switch cables at a turn? It would seem like there could be the option to connect the “turn” just after leaving Epcot to the station shown at DHS. Or is that type of connection not possible with this system?

    Either way, this system would have me seriously considering CBR for my next stay if it came to pass.

  • There is actually an in park gondola system in the Alton Towers theme park in the UK, have a nosy at it if you want to see how it works in a theme park setting.
    It gets shut down for high winds and lightning but this thing is 25+ years old and still running smoothly.

  • NO WAY this thing will actually materialize, and if it does, it won’t run most of the time. Mostly from Disney not staffing it correctly, and the rest from harsh Florida weather. We get thunderstorms 29/30 days of the year. Disney also hasn’t spent much money in their parks. They did in Disney Springs (an essential mall), but not on transportation, rides, etc.

    • 1) Enough sites are reporting this story, so it’s likely going to happen
      2) There will be more up-time than down-time. Yes, there are a lot of storms…but they blow through quickly. Similar to when roller coasters go down in storms, you basically just need a 15-minute break after the last known lightening strike to turn the system back on.
      3) Why would Disney not staff it? They would be shutting down a few bus routes anyway – saving on labor.
      4) Umm….are you not aware of the plethora of changes coming to WDW costing $ billions?! You basically gave your own comment the answer. Transportation is about to go through an overhaull.

  • Very nice & sound researched specultions.
    There are however, other in depth sources out there, ready to be considered even more than speculations.

    To start with : an existing feasibility study for ACT systems in Miami. (Februari 2016)
    > Same climate, same state legislation, same economic parameters.
    (Parameters from distant places could be way wrong, especially at evaluating climate, building and operational cost level)
    Link :
    http://miamidadempo.org/library/studies/aerial-cable-transit-feasbility-study-final-report-2016-02.pdf
    This is an extensive report, so anyone who is interested, just read.
    I like to pick some short evalution phrases from the report, just to point to a few important main criteria.

    On general feasibility :
    Citation :
    “By and large, the study found that the mode is not a panacea for all east-west travel markets in the County [>this is about Miami, of course] , but it did find some niches were it could contribute to relieving pent up transport demand and also for potentially encouraging economic development. The niche markets for ACT in Miami are relatively short corridors less than 1.5 miles where a point-to-point service would attract several thousand passengers per day for a 6 to 10 minute trip generally linking a higher capacity faster transit mode with a remote attraction such as a stadium, hospital, university, or remote high-density residential enclave. ”
    This is saying, in general : an ACT system has qualities as the option for “difficult” accessible remote destinations with a high demand mode, but over short distances only.

    Airconditioning is an operational problem :
    Citation :
    “ACT cabins generally have no onboard source of high voltage electrical power, only rechargeable batteries.
    Low voltage lighting, intercom, Wi-Fi and closed circuit video cameras are powered with these batteries but climate control systems for cooling or heating are limited at best. Cooling concerns limit the attractiveness of ACT for long trips in South Florida. For this reason the study team favors services of less than 6,000 feet and six minute travel times for initial trial applications in Miami.” (= FLORIDA !!)
    (This is on account whatever the manufacturers may say)

    Operation: (Different sources)
    The building cost and energy cost is not excusive for the operational cost. Maintenance cost still is very high. On-spot operational cost is not so low as suggested.
    Lets compare Koblenz.
    The 3800 p/h capacity is the strictly the theoretical… THRC. The real capacity is considerably lower althought it could be considered peak-hour capacity. The 2 stations connect over a distance of not more then 890 meters (0.55 mile). 2 times 6 staff have permanence with moderate-high use (peak hour could use more). There are 18 cars x 35 passengers, so it could compare with 10 long busses at 90 passengers, taken into account they do a bit longer over a round trip (waiting times) That’s actually 10 staff…
    DISTANCE is determinant, here ! Without comparing the same operational distances with building and operational costs, it’ going to be comparing apples & pears.
    Koblenz however poses a typical favorable situation of “site not directly accessible” with other means of transport. The inaccessibility (river + cliffs), makes it’s success. A flat 890 meters undisturbed distance, otherwise is absurd to be covered with a ACT.
    Price : Koblenz is a subsidised service. Actually €7.20 single, €9.90 return ticket. Real operational cost could be more then double… (Ski resort tickets, 100% private in that case, easily climb up to €35 return rate … for a 2-3 mile disance)
    Compare now, how to cover real cost in a private company. Make profit ? = Turning it into an attraction with separate ticket, NOT proposing it as mere transportation.

    Other comparitive detail , Bus cost.
    “….. The current Gillig busses used by Disney cost between $500,000-$700,000 each, and have a lifespan of around 12 years……”
    Bizarre high cost. And, IMHO bizarre short lifespan as well.
    Belgian manufacturer of long-busses (VanHool, a leader in this type of busses) produces them at the actual cost of about € 325000, for basic equiped versions (as the WDW busses are).
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-p6dBqpxgrpU/Uq3Bxk1J4yI/AAAAAAAAH_o/w3nKUFmrs7c/s1600/IMG_7666.JPG
    This is the type with the 100% comparable capacity as those Gillig in WDW.
    They operate literally everywhere around here, and even in full electric version !
    AND even longer versions, in 3 parts, offering xceptional capacities per driver !!!
    http://www.bruzz.be/sites/default/files/rambla/thumbnails/nieuws/10_oktober_2015/20151019BV02TRAMBUS_LIJN71_nieuw-28.jpg
    How was Gillig able to receive such an overpriced order from Disney ? :-)
    (And, useless to tell that Disney does not know VanHool, as the latest fleet of Magical Express IS from that manufacturer… :-) )
    http://www.disneytouristblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/disneys-magical-express.jpg

    There are lots of un-known elements in the whole WDW ACT-story, but the most believable option, is providing a specific new attraction, not a peak-hour calculated means of transport, because the most typical characteristic of an ACT system, is that it needs to run all day on the same operational speed/power/and safety-wise, also minimum constant-permanent staff level. THAT is completely different with busses…
    The Koblenz example is not comparable, as the fortress visit high above Koblenz is a touristical all-day feature, with an average dwell time between just 1.5-3 hours. There is a daylong go-and-return. Not really a peak hour.

    Cheers

  • The article is very nice & sound researched specultions.

    There are however, other in depth sources out there, ready to be considered even more than speculations.

    To start with : an existing feasibility study for ACT systems in Miami. (Februari 2016)
    > Same climate, same state legislation, same economic parameters.
    (Parameters from distant places could be way wrong, especially at evaluating climate, building and operational cost level)
    Link :
    http://miamidadempo.org/library/studies/aerial-cable-transit-feasbility-study-final-report-2016-02.pdf
    This is an extensive report, so anyone who is interested, just read.
    I like to pick some short evalution phrases from the report, just to point to a few important main criteria.

    On general feasibility :
    Citation :
    “By and large, the study found that the mode is not a panacea for all east-west travel markets in the County [>this is about Miami, of course] , but it did find some niches were it could contribute to relieving pent up transport demand and also for potentially encouraging economic development. The niche markets for ACT in Miami are relatively short corridors less than 1.5 miles where a point-to-point service would attract several thousand passengers per day for a 6 to 10 minute trip generally linking a higher capacity faster transit mode with a remote attraction such as a stadium, hospital, university, or remote high-density residential enclave. ”
    This is saying, in general : an ACT system has qualities as the option for “difficult” accessible remote destinations with a high demand mode, but over short distances only.

    Airconditioning is an operational problem :
    Citation :
    “ACT cabins generally have no onboard source of high voltage electrical power, only rechargeable batteries.
    Low voltage lighting, intercom, Wi-Fi and closed circuit video cameras are powered with these batteries but climate control systems for cooling or heating are limited at best. Cooling concerns limit the attractiveness of ACT for long trips in South Florida. For this reason the study team favors services of less than 6,000 feet and six minute travel times for initial trial applications in Miami.” (= FLORIDA !!)
    (This is on account whatever the manufacturers may say)

    Operation: (Different sources)
    The building cost and energy cost is not excusive for the operational cost. Maintenance cost still is very high. On-spot operational cost is not so low as suggested.
    Lets compare Koblenz.
    The 3800 p/h capacity is the strictly the theoretical… THRC. The real capacity is considerably lower althought it could be considered peak-hour capacity. The 2 stations connect over a distance of not more then 890 meters (0.55 mile). 2 times 6 staff have permanence with moderate-high use (peak hour could use more). There are 18 cars x 35 passengers, so it could compare with 10 long busses at 90 passengers, taken into account they do a bit longer over a round trip (waiting times) That’s actually 10 staff…
    DISTANCE is determinant, here ! Without comparing the same operational distances with building and operational costs, it’ going to be comparing apples & pears.
    Koblenz however poses a typical favorable situation of “site not directly accessible” with other means of transport. The inaccessibility (river + cliffs), makes it’s success. A flat 890 meters undisturbed distance, otherwise is absurd to be covered with a ACT.
    Price : Koblenz is a subsidised service. Actually €7.20 single, €9.90 return ticket. Real operational cost could be more then double… (Ski resort tickets, 100% private in that case, easily climb up to €35 return rate … for a 2-3 mile disance)
    Compare now, how to cover real cost in a private company. Make profit ? = Turning it into an attraction with separate ticket, NOT proposing it as mere transportation.

    Other comparitive detail , Bus cost.
    “….. The current Gillig busses used by Disney cost between $500,000-$700,000 each, and have a lifespan of around 12 years……”
    Bizarre high cost. And, IMHO bizarre short lifespan as well.
    Belgian manufacturer of long-busses (VanHool, a leader in this type of busses) produces them at the actual cost of about € 325000, for basic equiped versions (as the WDW busses are).
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-p6dBqpxgrpU/Uq3Bxk1J4yI/AAAAAAAAH_o/w3nKUFmrs7c/s1600/IMG_7666.JPG
    This is the type with the 100% comparable capacity as those Gillig in WDW.
    They operate literally everywhere around here, and even in full electric version !
    AND even longer versions, in 3 parts, offering xceptional capacities per driver !!!
    http://www.bruzz.be/sites/default/files/rambla/thumbnails/nieuws/10_oktober_2015/20151019BV02TRAMBUS_LIJN71_nieuw-28.jpg
    How was Gillig able to receive such an overpriced order from Disney ? :-)
    (And, useless to tell that Disney does not know VanHool, as the latest fleet of Magical Express IS from that manufacturer… :-) )
    http://www.disneytouristblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/disneys-magical-express.jpg

    There are lots of un-known elements in the whole WDW ACT-story, but the most believable option, is providing a specific new attraction, not a peak-hour calculated means of transport, because the most typical characteristic of an ACT system, is that it needs to run all day on the same operational speed/power/and safety-wise, also minimum constant-permanent staff level. THAT is completely different with busses…
    The Koblenz example is not comparable, as the fortress visit high above Koblenz is a touristical all-day feature, with an average dwell time between just 1.5-3 hours. There is a daylong go-and-return. Not really a peak hour.

  • (Note : sorry for double posting, I thought there was something broken with the website connection, an hour or so ago)

  • And after all that, there’s no A/C in the cars? How insane is that. 15 minutes in a glass enclosed box with 100 degree summer days, hanging in the air with no way out, as cool as it sounds like it could be, it’s a nightmare alternative when you’re paying 1000’s of $ to be in a Fantasyland. Then to talk about raising the resort fees as this is a premium option? What’s so premium? As an Annual Passholder who travels several times a year from Pennsylvania to Florida for the main reason to come to Disney, the gondolas should be left at the ski resorts, south Florida is not​ the place for them if there’s no A/C.

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